This is my third attempt at ube bread. Ube is a Filipino purple yam, used in many Filipino desserts, usually as fillings, ice cream flavors, cheesecake, cookies, breads and rolls, etc. Usually in Filipino Bakeries, if something is called ube bread, it’s a soft yeast bread, like a brioche dough, with swirls of sweetened ube. I decided to make mine a marbled quick bread. Because quick! 😉
The first ube bread I made a couple of weeks ago ended up losing its beautiful purple color, wasn’t marbled, and wasn’t even really ube! It turned out the grocery store mislabeled the products, so I actually bought and used Okinawan purple sweet potatoes! Sheesh!
A second time, I decided to go with a frozen ube product, because it’s not common to find fresh ube yams in the Seattle area, and the store that made the mistake in labeling them was really far away. The frozen kind is sold in 1 pound plastic bags in the frozen section of Asian grocery stores and is already cooked and mashed. While generally happy with how it turned out, I inadvertently sweetened the bread too much with both honey and sweetened coconut flakes, and used coconut extract, so the coconut flavor was just too much.
This time, I decided to go with almond flavor instead of coconut and make it sweet, still marbled, and did not attempt to make it gluten-free or vegan. I think this is the best variation. The crumb is delicate, almost like I used cake flour, but the almond flavor isn’t too much, at least not for me. For less almond flavor, use vanilla extract instead of almond extract. Unfortunately, the ube flavor is not very strong, but at least it makes a pretty slice of marbled cake, doesn’t it?
This is still a work in progress. For now, I’m generally happy, but will definitely add a thing or two next time. There are actually a few products (also found in some Asian markets) to bump up the ube flavor, namely ube extract, but also ube powder, so next time, I might add one or both of those to the ube part of the marble.
ube bread (makes one marbled 8.5-inch by 4.5-inch quick bread loaf)
3/4 cup ube yam, cooked, mashed (or use thawed frozen product)
1 cup and 1/4 cup confectioners sugar, separated
1 and 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup almond flour
2 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
2 eggs, room temperature
1/2 teaspoon almond extract (can use vanilla extract)
1/2 cup almond milk
Heat oven to 325 degrees F.
Grease a 8.5-inch by 4.5-inch loaf pan (can also use a 9″x5″ pan, but may take less time to bake and may be flatter), and line with parchment paper that overhands on two opposite sides, for easy removal of bread from pan.
In a small bowl, place the thawed ube product and 1/4 cup confectioners sugar and stir or whisk until thoroughly combined and smooth.
In one bowl, sift the flours, baking powder and salt, and stir several times with a whisk to disperse the salt and baking powder well into the flours.
In another bowl, cream the butter and 1 cup confectioners sugar, until fluffy, using an electric hand held mixer with beaters. Add eggs, one at a time, blending well after each egg. Add almond extract and blend well again.
Alternate adding increments of the flour mixture with the almond milk, scraping sides and bottom of bowl as needed, with a rubber spatula, and mixing with electric beater on low after each addition.
Add roughly 3/4 cup of the batter to the bowl with the ube and stir well until combined and all one color without streaks of the batter.
Add about 1/4 cup scoops of each batter to the bottom of the pan, alternating placement of each with each layer of batter. Run a knife to twist and curve through the batter before baking and create the marbled effect. Careful not to overdo it with twisting and curving!
Bake for about an hour to 70 minutes. Bread should be lightly golden browned on top, and the split in the middle shouldn’t show any wet batter or be soft. Toothpick test in the center strongly encouraged. Cool completely before slicing.